A Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier has succumbed to injuries he sustained after being beaten by a mob in the disputed Apaa land, claimed by community members in Amuru and Adjumani districts.
Sgt. Dominic Vudriko Aluma attached to 501 Brigade was reportedly beaten along with his sby angry locals after invading Tekwi village, Labala Parish, Pabbo Sub-County in Amuru district on Friday morning.
Charles Okoya, the Apaa village Chairperson told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Saturday that the deceased and other accomplices invaded a home on Friday morning where they harassed a local farmer to vacate the area.
He said the deceased was in the company of about six men all from the Madi community who had been threatening the Acholi community to vacate the area for the past four days.
A local farmer identified as Richard Odongkara was reportedly injured on the left rib in one of the raids and currently receiving medical treatment at St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu City according to Okoya.
He however notes that the deceased and his accomplices were rounded up Friday morning and beaten by community members who had mobilized in retaliation.
“We kept telling security that soldiers dressed in civilian attires are involved in this conflict, but no one has been believing us. Today the truth is out with evidence, and we demand that the army conducts a deeper investigation,” Said Okoya.
Colonel Deo Akiiki, the UPDF Deputy Spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network on Saturday that the deceased soldier had been given a pass leave before joining his Madi community on Friday.
Akiiki also identified the deceased accomplice as Geoffrey Opiyo, 28, a resident of Linguru village, Bobori parish, Pakele sub-county in Adjumani district.
According to Akiiki, at about 8:30 am Friday, a group of four unknown assailants from the Madi community attacked a local identified as Richard Odongkara and injured his left ribs.
He says in retaliation, the Acholi community mobilized and rounded up two people of Madi origin including the deceased, and subjected them to mob justice but were rescued by security personnel deployed at the disputed Apaa boundary checkpoint.
Aluma reportedly succumbed to his injuries hours later while being rushed for medical treatment.
Akiiki says the UPDF together with other sister security agencies will investigate the incident to ascertain Aluma’s involvement and eventual demise.
“UPDF will continue to advocate for a peaceful co-existence as the matters of Apaa land conflicts are addressed by different stakeholders. We commiserate with the family of Sgt. Dominic in this difficult period,” said Col. Akiiki.
No suspect had been arrested by security personnel in connection the death by the time of filing this report.
The incident comes two weeks after a clash in the disputed Apaa land left nine people dead and dozens of others injured. The conflict sparked an uproar among leaders from Acholi who demanded the government takes immediate actions to bring to an end bloodshed in Apaa.